Expecting During Covid-19?
Pregnancy, birth, and early parenting, can by nature be a whirlwind of mixed emotions, difficult decisions, and challenging logistics. As doulas we understand how the current climate, with all the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, can have a huge impact on your birth and parenting journey. We are working hard to be there in whatever capacity is safest for families and birthing people.
Doula Support During a Pandemic
If anything, the current state within the maternity care system emphasises the role of a doula as an essential support person during pregnancy, childbirth, and in early parenting. Helping their clients access accurate and up-to-date information is one of the key aspects of a doula’s role, along with attending their emotional wellbeing and physical comfort.
What Are We Doing To Help Protect Clients?
Our members operate their own businesses and are responsible for ensuring they undertake necessary safety steps to protect their clients and themselves from possible infections. This is nothing new! As they work with pregnant people and newborns, doulas are trained to be conscientious of hygiene and safety anyway and would never attend a birth or make a postpartum visit if they showed any signs of infectious illness. However, we have updated our suggested guidelines to ensure everyone’s health and safety. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Training in additional areas of infection control and proper use of PPE.
- Following the government’s guidelines on social distancing.
- Wearing a mask when in close quarters with a client who is pregnant, newly postpartum, or with a newborn.
- Restricting meetings with clients to appropriate lengths of time, dependent on the setting.
- Discussing with you what you are comfortable with!
Restrictions and recommendations are changing frequently right now, and as a result the Doula Association of Ireland is in constant contact with hospitals’ Directors of Midwifery and home birth midwives around the country in order to ensure we are providing up to date information to clients.
As of now, birthing people are still restricted to one partner only when attending a hospital birth. While many people have chosen to labour and birth with the specialised and knowledgeable support of their hired doula instead of their partner, this is an extremely difficult decision and for that reason doulas remain essentially prohibited from attending hospital births.
If you would like your birth partner to be present but still feel you need the support of a doula, they are able to support you in other ways. Depending on how far along you are, it may also be that by the time your baby is ready to be born our doulas will have received the go-ahead for attending hospital births once more.
Until hospital restrictions are lifted, doulas can still:
- Meet/Chat with you prior to the birth to discuss your birth preferences, work through any concerns you might have and help you prepare for childbirth.
- Explore your antenatal preparation options and help you find accessible solutions.
- Provide full at-home support during early labour —this discussed with your doula to ensure all parties are comfortable with the chosen safety measures.
- A doula may accompany you during your hospital birth if you have chosen them as your sole birth support.
- Continue to provide support through virtual means during in-hospital labour and even postpartum.
- Attend home births, providing continuous doula support.
- Visit your home as a postpartum doula, practising the necessary safety restrictions whilst providing postpartum support.
- Offer continuous support via email, text, or phone, and be available to answer questions and give reassurance during your pregnancy and early days of parenting.
- Make referrals to accessible third party support, such as infant feeding specialists, sleep consultants, and other helpful pregnancy or parenting resources
*Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to ensure the information we provide is correct, it is in no way intended to replace the current national guidelines.